In an interview with the Ukrainian TCH media outlet, that soldier, identified only as “Serhiy,” explained he’d just recently returned to Ukraine in December from Bradley training in Germany. Also the vehicle commander, he and his driver, Oleksandr, were only on their second mission together. Members of the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade, their job was to protect troops in a trench under fire from Russian tanks.
You can read all about the Bradley and what it brings to the fight in Ukraine in this recent article of ours.
Going up against a heavily armored T-90M, Russia's most advanced frontline tank armed with a 125mm cannon, with the Bradley's 25mm chain gun was risky, said Serhiy.
“Yes, it was very scary,” he said. “But I think we did well.”
“I can’t express what it means to see a tank in the sights,” said Serhiy. “In training, I was saying, ‘God forbid I see a tank in the sights.’ It so happened that I did, and very close.”
“There was another crew that came first. It didn’t work out, so we had to muster up the courage and go.”
Serhiy didn’t explain what happened to that other Bradley, which is seen on the second video we wrote about yesterday, which you can see below.
Regardless, Serhiy’s Bradley took over the job of attacking the tank.
“We fired with all we could” with the Bradley's Bushmaster M242 25mm automatic cannon's armor piercing rounds.
Then there was a problem with those rounds, he said, without offering details. This is when his experience with video games kicked in.
“But as I played video games, I remembered everything. Both how to hit and where. I could stop him at any cost.”
Many video games over the years have highlighted the need to hit certain armored vehicles, especially tanks, in areas where their armor is thinnest and/or critical components are more exposed. Tanks are most heavily armored in the frontal hemisphere and less so in the rear. Other weak points exist, on the sides between the turret and the hull, for instance. Simply blinding the tank by destroying its sensors can result in a mission kill, leaving it repairable but useless on the battlefield, too.
Confirming what two armor experts told us after seeing a video of the battle, Serhiy said that he switched to another type of round and began aiming for the tank’s optics. He didn’t specify what kind of round, but as our experts said, the Bradleys usually have anti-armor and high explosive rounds.
“Due to issues with anti-armor, I started blinding him so he couldn’t leave,” said Serhiy. As we suspected, he achieved a mission kill on the tank by knocking out its optics.
Before becoming Bradley crew members, Serhiy was in the infantry and Oleksandr drove cars for a supply unit
“I’d say he is more important than me even though I am the gunner and commander,” said Serhiy. “If he gets me out, I am happy.”
The men were interviewed at an ad-hoc roadside maintenance area in Avdiivka, according to TCH.
As mechanics worked on the track section of one Bradley, another drove by, bearing holes in its side skirt armor caused by shrapnel from a mine that exploded nearby, the reporter explained.
“Like an F1 car, they come, we quickly fix and they go,” one of the mechanics said.
As they stood beside their Bradley, one of nearly 200 promised by the U.S., the two men praised the vehicle.
“This vehicle ruins enemy plans,” said Serhiy. “They really want to get us.”
Given that Russia shows no signs of backing off its full-scale invasion, it’s very likely they will have another shot at Serhiy and his crew very soon.
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